Collective Memory

Although once considered a subspeciality within the domain of the sociology of knowledge, the examination of collective behavior or “social memory studies” has developed over the past two decades into a vibrant theoretical domain, linking sociological theory, historical sociology, social psychology, and the sociology of culture. The collective memory approach argues that history enters into social life through the means by which individuals, organizations, and states interpret, recall, and commemorate the past.

The legitimating theoretical text in this field is Maurice Halbwachs's 1925 work, The Social Frameworks of Memory, finally translated into English in 1992. Halbwachs, an influential French follower of Émile Durkheim and Henri Bergson, and colleague of Annales historians Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, argued that memory was organized in light of “collective frameworks.” ...

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